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What is an IP address?

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The term IP means in English "Internet Protocol", or protocol or for Internet, which in practice are a series of regulations and agreements to follow for participation on this great network; When we talk about an IP address, specifically speak of a series of numbers assigned to a device (such as a computer) participant in the network. In the following article we explore more thoroughly the concept.

As soon as the first mainframe computers were perfected it became necessary to find a way that information traveled work terminals to the computer. There were several protocols, the first based on "hardware". For example I remember as the signal was sent by a coaxial cable. The signal traveled at six frequencies that were "leaked" by a series of switches, one for each frequency, thus you could differentiate terminals: by the combination of switches active or inactive.

Central computer went out several coaxial cables and each could connect several terminals in addition your connection could be done in series or in parallel, according to the technician who explained it to me there was no great difference in terms of speed of data transmission, but in terms of signal quality networks in series were best because each terminal "renewed" signal with his own source but this hauling some disadvantage in speed. A few years later the coaxial cable is replaced by the braided cable, initially carrying the signals in a similar manner (in fact the first network for this type of cable modem had connectors both for both types of cable) but then modifies the Protocol for various purposes. The IP addresses will replace in part to previous protocols because up to the functions of the switches were replaced with software.

An IP address identifies the way in which a device is connected to a network. I say a device because we are all used to refer to computer networks, which at some time have worked in large companies know that scanners and others can be shared by this average printers, photocopiers,. Each of these devices requires a network of mostly card and once the connection is must be assigned the IP address.

Although there are other protocols to make a network compatible with the Internet there are double Protocol: Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP), which together are so abbreviated TCP/IP. The first has to do with the way in which data travel across the network. As for the IP address, there are two: one that uses four pairs of bytes (IP v4) is the current and which uses six pairs of bytes (IP v6). The "IP v4" has certain limitations on the number of networks that can be made and by certain conventions many addresses are wasted, hence the need to implement the "IP v6" because every inhabitant of the planet could be several million addresses.

Another interesting detail is that they are usually assemble subnets to avoid data collision and expedite the movement of them, what they call "subnet", but the technique prevents the use of the first and last addresses in the subnet, which in very complex as the Internet networks becomes a serious problem and is another detail that the Protocol "IP v6" comes to remedy. An IP address v4 can be expressed in decimal numbers, hexadecimal or binary while the IP v6 only are expressed in hexadecimal. Arbitrarily addresses were allocated to Governments, large companies, medium-sized businesses and other users in what are catalogued as networks class A, B, C and so on.

The most interesting remaining comment refers to the two types of IP addresses that exist: dynamic and fixed. The first belong to a series of protocols that can be manual (where an operator has made the selection both of computers that can be used as possible addresses); the automatic (where the single operator intervenes by selecting the number of addresses that can be used) and the actual dynamics (where the operator does not intervene at all).

In all these cases required a server DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) that translate as "a dynamic Server Configuration Protocol" and has as a function assigning addresses to users as they are left free because other users are not already using them. A fixed IP address can be very important, above all in certain web applications, which is beyond the scope of this article. The advantages of these come on behalf of the user while the advantages of the first are based on servers. With the use of the Protocol IP v6 these advantages cease to make sense.
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